The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) is a federal law that was established to protect the rights of pregnant women in the workplace. This law prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee because she is pregnant or may become pregnant at some point in the future. But, what exactly is discrimination? Here’s a look at five of the most common types of pregnancy discrimination:
Employers should consider many factors when deciding who to hire, but an applicant’s pregnancy is not one of them. For example, let’s say you are not hired for a job simply because you are pregnant and the company does not want to hire someone who will need to take maternity leave in the near future. Since your pregnancy was the sole reason you were not hired, this is a form of pregnancy discrimination.
Failure to Accommodate
Some women suffer from medical conditions during pregnancy that make it harder for them to perform their job duties. When this happens, women have the right to ask their employer for accommodations such as flexible hours, frequent breaks, or temporary disability leave. Employers must treat pregnant women who make these requests in the same manner they would treat other employers with temporary disabilities. If an employer grants another worker’s request for temporary disability, but does not allow a pregnant woman the same leave, this is considered discrimination.
Let’s say you announce your pregnancy, and are fired shortly afterwards. Later on, a colleague mentions that you were fired because your employer was concerned you would need to take a lot of time off of work during your pregnancy. Firing someone because she is pregnant, planning on getting pregnant, or could possibly get pregnant is a form of illegal discrimination.
Harassing a woman because of her pregnancy or pregnancy-related disability is another form of discrimination. This can include a number of behaviors, including mocking, making offensive comments, physically assaulting, sharing discriminatory images, or making threats towards a woman because of her pregnancy. If the behavior creates a hostile work environment, which means it interferes with your ability to perform your job duties, it is considered harassment.
Job Duty Modifications
An employer has no right to modify your job duties because of your pregnancy unless you have requested the modifications. For instance, let’s say your employer believes your pregnancy will affect your focus at work. As a result, your employer temporarily reassigns you to another position with fewer responsibilities. If you are still capable of performing your existing job duties, this is a form of pregnancy discrimination.
If you have been discriminated against because of your pregnancy, the experienced attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. are here to help. We are committed to protecting the rights of employees in Oklahoma--and helping them recover the damages they deserve. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.